Have you ever felt like there’s a weight you carry, one that doesn’t quite belong to you? Maybe it shows up in your relationships, or that nagging voice in your head that whispers doubts. That could be the echo of things that happened long ago in your family. 

It’s called generational trauma, and it’s more common than you might think.

But here’s the most important thing to remember: you are not defined by those past hurts. Just like a beautiful garden can bloom even after a storm, you can heal and blossom too. It takes some time and gentle care, but you’ve got this.

How to Release Trauma from the Body?

The effects of trauma can linger long after the event itself. 

You might experience them not just emotionally, but physically as well. These physical signs are your body’s way of communicating that it’s holding onto stress and tension. 

Here are some gentle practices to help your body release trauma and find a sense of calm:

Mindfulness and Meditation: 

Think of these as quiet moments of self-compassion. 

By focusing on your breath and bodily sensations in a non-judgmental way, you can become more aware of where you’re holding tension. This awareness is the first step towards letting go. 

There are many guided meditations available online or through apps specifically designed to target trauma.

Somatic Movement: 

Somatic movement practices like yoga and gentle stretching can be incredibly helpful in releasing trauma from the body. 

These practices encourage you to connect with your physical sensations and move your body in a way that feels safe and supportive. As you move, you might experience emotional releases or even memories surfacing. 

This is a natural part of the healing process, and a therapist specializing in somatic therapy can help you process these experiences in a healthy way.

Deep Breathing Exercises: 

When we’re stressed or traumatized, our breath tends to become shallow and rapid. 

Deep breathing exercises, like diaphragmatic breathing, can activate the body’s relaxation response and help counteract the physical effects of trauma. There are many different breathing techniques you can find online or through apps. 

Experiment and find one that feels calming and grounding for you.

Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR): 

PMR is a technique where you tense and release different muscle groups in your body. 

As you tense your muscles, focus on the sensation, and then consciously release the tension as you exhale. This practice can help you become more aware of areas where you hold tension and can be a powerful tool for promoting relaxation.

Creative Expression: 

Sometimes, therapy isn’t the only answer. 

Creative outlets like journaling, painting, dance, or even playing music can be a powerful way to access and process difficult emotions. When you engage in creative expression, you allow your body and mind to communicate in a different way, potentially bypassing some of the defenses that might come up in traditional talk therapy.

It’s important to find practices that resonate with you and fit into your lifestyle. Don’t be afraid to experiment and see what feels best for your body and mind. If you’re struggling to find what works for you, consider reaching out to a therapist who specializes in trauma. 

They can help you create a personalized plan for releasing trauma from your body and finding lasting healing.

Can Generational Trauma Be Fixed?

Healing from generational trauma is a marathon, not a sprint. It’s a journey of self-discovery and requires dedication and commitment. 

But the good news is, with the right approach and support system, you can break the cycle of trauma and build a healthier future for yourself and potentially future generations. 

Here are some key steps to consider on your healing path:

Education is Power: 

Knowledge is a powerful tool. 

Learning about generational trauma and its effects can be an empowering first step. There are many resources available online, in libraries, and through workshops. Reading books, articles, or listening to podcasts on the topic can help you understand the roots of your challenges and the experiences that might be unconsciously impacting your life. 

The more you understand, the better equipped you are to address them.

Therapy Can Be Your Guide: 

Consider seeking professional help from a therapist specializing in trauma. 

A therapist can provide a safe and supportive space for you to explore your experiences and develop healthy coping mechanisms. Therapy can help you process past hurts, develop emotional regulation skills, and learn to build healthier relationships. 

It’s a journey of self-compassion and empowerment, and a therapist can be your guide along the way.

Support Groups: Find Your Tribe: 

Feeling like you’re not alone can be incredibly healing. Support groups connect you with others who have experienced similar challenges. 

Sharing your story and experiences in a safe and understanding environment can be incredibly validating and provide valuable insights. Support groups can also offer encouragement, camaraderie, and a sense of belonging on your healing journey.

Remember, healing is not linear. 

There will be setbacks and challenges along the way. But with dedication and the right support system, you can overcome these obstacles and experience lasting change. Be patient with yourself, celebrate your victories (big and small!), and don’t hesitate to reach out for help when you need it. 

You are worthy of healing, and you have the strength to break the cycle of generational trauma.

What are 5 Key Symptoms of Intergenerational Trauma?

While generational trauma can manifest differently in each person, here are some common things to watch out for

1. Difficulty with relationships: You might struggle with trust, intimacy, or healthy communication in your relationships.

2. Low self-esteem: You might have negative beliefs about yourself or feel like you’re not good enough.

3. Addiction: People with generational trauma may turn to substances or unhealthy behaviors to cope with difficult emotions.

4. Anxiety and depression: These are common symptoms of trauma and can significantly impact your daily life.

5. Unexplained physical symptoms: Trauma can manifest physically in the form of chronic pain, fatigue, or digestive issues.

Can Generational Trauma Be Passed Down?

The simple answer is no, the trauma itself isn’t directly written into your genes. However, the effects of trauma can be passed down through generations in a fascinating and complex way. Here’s how:


This is a field of science that explores how our experiences can influence gene expression. While the DNA code itself doesn’t change, chemical tags can attach to genes, turning them on or off. 

Trauma can leave epigenetic marks that might be passed down to offspring, potentially influencing their stress response, emotional regulation, and even susceptibility to mental health conditions.

Learned Behaviors and Coping Mechanisms: 

Imagine a parent who grew up in a war-torn environment and learned to numb their emotions to cope with the constant fear and uncertainty. This coping mechanism, while potentially helpful for survival in that situation, might unconsciously be passed down to their children. 

The child, even without experiencing war directly, might pick up on the parent’s emotional distance and struggle to express their own emotions in healthy ways.

Family Dynamics and Unconscious Patterns: 

Trauma can create a ripple effect within families. For example, a parent who experienced abuse might become overly critical or distant, unintentionally recreating a similar dynamic with their children. 

These unconscious patterns can be passed down through generations, perpetuating unhealthy family systems.

It’s important to remember that generational trauma isn’t a predetermined fate. While the effects of past trauma can be carried forward, you have the power to break the cycle.

Breaking the Cycle and Building Resilience

Healing from generational trauma is a journey of self-discovery and empowerment. By taking care of yourself, learning about your family history, and seeking professional support if needed, you can break the cycle of trauma and build resilience for yourself and future generations.

Remember, you are not alone. Many people experience generational trauma, and there is help available. 

With compassion, understanding, and the right tools, you can heal and create a brighter future for yourself and your loved ones.


Indigo Therapy Group

Therapy Services for the Greater Chicago Area


Northbrook Location

900 Skokie Blvd., Suite 255

Northbrook, IL 60062

Oak Park Location

1011 Lake Street, Suite 425

Oak Park, IL 60301


Things To Know

  • Elevators & Parking are available at both locations at the buildings. 
  • Virtual services are provided throughout Illinois.


Call: 312-870-0120

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